|The Quadriceps Muscles|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- Stretching the quadriceps beyond the amount of tension or stress that they can withstand
- Suddenly putting stress on the quadriceps when the muscle is not ready for the stress
- Using the quadriceps too much on a certain day
- Experiencing a blow to the quadriceps
- Doing a strenuous quadriceps activity (such as dance)
- Pain and tenderness in the front of the thigh
- Stiffness in the quadriceps
- Weakness of the quadriceps
- Bruising on the front of the thigh (if blood vessels are broken)
- Popping or snapping sensation as the muscle tears (rare)
- Tenderness and/or bruising directly over the quadriceps
- Pain or weakness when contracting the quadriceps, particularly against resistance
- Some stretching with microtearing of muscle fibers
- Complete recovery can take 10-21 days
- Partial tearing of muscle fibers
- Recovery can take up to 1-2 months
- Complete tearing (rupture) of muscle fibers
- Recovery can take more than three months
- Surgery may be needed to repair the torn muscle fibers
- Rest—Do not do activities that cause pain, such as running, jumping, and weight lifting using the thigh muscles. If normal walking hurts, shorten your stride. Do not play sports until the pain is gone. Wait until your doctor has given you permission.
- Cold—Apply ice or a cold pack to the quadriceps area for 15-20 minutes 4 times a day for several days after the injury. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin.
- Pain relief medications—Examples include aspirin , ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Topical pain medicines (such as creams and patches) applied to the skin are another option. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about using these medications. If you still have tenderness in the quadriceps while taking these drugs, do not return to physical activity. Check with your doctor before returning to play.
- Compression—Wear an elastic compression bandage (such as an Ace bandage) around your thigh to prevent additional swelling. Be careful not to wrap the bandage too tightly.
- Elevation—Keep your leg higher than your heart as much as possible for the first 24 hours to minimize swelling.
- Heat—Use heat only when you are returning to physical activity. Then use it before stretching or getting ready to play sports.
- Stretching—When the acute pain is gone, start gentle stretching exercises as recommended by a healthcare professional. Stay within pain limits. Hold each stretch for about 10 seconds and repeat six times.
- Strengthening—Begin strengthening exercises for your quadriceps as recommended by a healthcare professional.
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American Council on Exercise http://www.acefitness.org
The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca
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- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 09/28/2012 -